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Minn. electric co-op breaks ground for ND ethanol plant

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Elected officials, business leaders and power company officials broke ground Friday on a $155 million dollar ethanol plant in southeastern North Dakota. It will be constructed by wholesale electric cooperative Great River Energy of Maple Grove, Min., which is owned by 28 local power co-ops.

The Jamestown Sun reported that the Dakota Spirit AgEnergy project will be the first grain-based ethanol plant to be constructed in the U.S. since 2007. It will be powered by steam from Great River Energy's Spiritwood Station coal-fired generating plant. The Star Tribune reports that the North Dakota ethanol plant will be the second ethanol plant developed by Great River Energy.

The project will create 275 jobs during the 18-month construction period, the company said. Once completed, the plant will employ 36 and produce 65 million gallons of ethanol each year from 23 million bushels of corn. The increased demand for local corn is expected to generate additional revenue for farmers. The plant also will produce distillers grains sold as animal feed, and industrial corn oil used in animal feed or to produce biodiesel.

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